Asia Pacific Airlines Soar into 2024 with Strong Passenger and Cargo Traffic

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The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has reported a robust beginning to the year, revealing encouraging traffic figures for January 2024. The surge is attributed to heightened demand preceding the Lunar New Year celebrations, showcasing substantial increases in both international passenger and cargo traffic.

In January, airlines across the region transported an impressive total of 27.0 million international passengers, reflecting a substantial 49.4% growth compared to the same period last year. This brought the traffic volumes to 82.0% of pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019. Revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) witnessed a notable 48.3% increase year-over-year, underscoring a solid demand for regional travel. Despite a 51.3% growth in available seat capacity, the international passenger load factor saw a marginal decrease of 1.6 percentage points, settling at an average of 79.9% for the month.

In addition to the positive trends in passenger travel, the air cargo market experienced significant expansion in January, fueled by demand associated with Lunar New Year festivities. International air cargo demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK), recorded a robust 22.5% growth year-over-year, extending the upward trend observed in the last quarter of 2023. However, the increase in available freight capacity, up by 25.8% year-on-year due to the recovery of belly-hold capacities in international passenger flights, led to a 1.6 percentage point decrease in the average international freight load factor, settling at 57.5%.

Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General, commented on the positive results, stating, “The year started on a positive note for Asia Pacific airlines, as both international air passenger and cargo markets saw robust growth, supported by the timing of the Lunar New Year festive period. Travel demand was boosted by a rise in leisure travelers, while cargo markets benefited from heightened demand for air shipments ahead of the festive period.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Menon expressed optimism for Asian carriers in the coming year, citing renewed global economic outlook. However, he cautioned that as capacity restoration progresses, airlines face intensifying competition. The challenging cost environment, influenced by ongoing inflationary pressures and supply chain issues, is acknowledged, but airlines remain proactive in seeking new growth opportunities while upholding safety and customer service standards.

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